Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/297

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Obeah in the West Indies. 287

which gives every assistance to the accused to estabHsh their innocence.

On 23rd November, 1904, was commenced in the Court House at Castries, before the Chief Justice of St. Lucia, the trial of three men named Montoute Edmond, St. Luce Leon, and Edgar St. Hill, all natives of the island, for the murder of a black boy named Rupert Mapp, aged about twelve years, a native of Barbados. The accused were tried separately and were separately defended, the Attorney- General of St. Lucia prosecuting in each case. The evidence, as given by numerous witnesses, was much the same in each case. It appeared that the boy Rupert Mapp had been brought to St. Lucia from Barbados on 28th Sep- tember, under the pretence of employment as an errand boy, by Montoute. On arrival at Castries he had been taken by Montoute, who was an elderly man, to the house of St. Luce Leon at Monchy, Gros Islet, some twelve miles north- west of Castries, situated in one of the most sparsely populated districts of St. Lucia.

St. Lucia, having only been finally ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 18 14, its country inhabitants are mostly ignorant of the English language, and only speak a French patois, which the boy Mapp, coming from the English-speaking colony of Barbados, did not understand. Monchy is not far from Dauphin, one of the old French capitals of St. Lucia, where it is said that the French Empress Josephine spent many years of her childhood, for her parents owned an estate at Chaubourg, in the vicinity, at which there is strong evidence to believe that she was born.

St. Luce Leon would appear to be a man of some substance and a typical landowner of his class, owning some five acres of land under cultivation with ordinary tropical produce. The usual practice of men of this class was to hoard their savings and to secrete them in nooks and crannies and in the thatch of their cottages. A fire, however, which had occurred to a neighbour, resulting in his house and